Scatterbrained. - Black Smoke - Stereo Stickman

Scatterbrained. Black Smoke


You don’t often get to review stuff like this. More’s the pity.

Having the confidence to fling this many influences, hooks and flourishes at one piece of music is one thing, but then also possessing this much dynamic range and production nous is almost an embarrassment of riches. Good for Scatterbrained. then. (By the way, you gotta love the fact that they’re so contrary they have a period (full stop) as a part of their band name!).

Mashing up spoken word, hardcore, rock, pop and more besides, we are taken by the hand and yanked through a blizzard of exciting changes. The highly intelligent and witty mix makes features out of the shouted word ‘fuck’ one minute and a single delicate tap of the bell of a ride cymbal the next. To be able to carve out this much space within a mix is a singular skill, and speaks volumes about the band’s vision with regard to their output.

I’m put in mind of acts like Panic! At The Disco and Enter Shikari because of vocals and dynamics, but the sound they’ve got here piles on pressure that’s all their own design. Particular attention appears to have been paid to the drums and percussion which are allowed to explore their own voice, working with strange production scratches and squirls and processed vocal states to provide questions and answers all their own. Guitars hold down rhythms as tight as you like, and it’s a genuine downer when the final snare thwacks out.

‘I may be just another statistic…’ opines the first voice we hear in the opening salvo of Black Smoke. Not likely, judging by the energy and talent on display here.

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Chris Porter


As well as writing about music, Chris Porter is a songwriter, singer, producer & vocal coach. He has written for all manner of international artists, including Dagny, Dzeko, and hit the No.1 spot with Thailand’s Singto Numchok. His music has had thousands of placements on film, TV & radio all around the globe.

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